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Regional climate of the subtropical central Andes using high-resolution CMIP5 models—part I: past performance (1980–2005)

Zazulie, Natalia, Rusticucci, Matilde, Raga, Graciela B.
Climate dynamics 2017 v.49 no.11-12 pp. 3937-3957
climate, climate models, data collection, hills, sea level, summer, surface temperature, winter, Andes region
This study assesses the performance of 15 high resolution global climate models (GCMs) over the complex orographic region of the subtropical central Andes from available simulations of the Fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). The simulated past climate (1980–2005) was compared against the Climate Research Unit (CRU) dataset and the ERA-Interim reanalysis, considered as reference datasets, to evaluate regional and seasonal surface temperature and precipitation, as well as sea level pressure and circulation. A good agreement was found between the simulations and the reference datasets for winter precipitation and for temperature over both seasons. Whilst all models correctly reproduce the annual cycle of precipitation, some of them overestimate winter totals. ERA-Interim does not adequately represent summer precipitation over the region, and some of the models analyzed also show the same deficiency. All models correctly reproduce the northward migration of the South Pacific subtropical high during winter, although some of them underestimate the maximum central pressure. During summer, most models fail to show the low level north–south flow parallel to the eastern foothills of the Andes, a feature known as the Low Level Jet. Further analysis of the results of the simulations led to the selection of a sub-set of five CMIP5 GCMs to construct a reduced ensemble. This reduced ensemble is a better representation than the multi-model mean of the 15 GCMs of the past climate at this region and would be recommended for future studies.